Pressure sores are an unfortunate fact and common occurrence for people with disabilities, particular for those who have limited mobility, loss of feeling/sensation and poor blood circulation. Although Peer Support is one of PBF Australia’s primary objectives, we pride ourselves in trying to prepare the patients we meet for what lies ahead and the possible issues and pitfalls that they might not be aware of.
Many able-bodied people see people in wheelchairs as just that, a person in a wheelchair. Not many realise the extent of paralysis, balance and sensation that has been compromised, and assume by seeing someone sitting in chair that it’s just their mobility that has been affected. How far from the truth that is! Not only do we have to deal with the day to day access of buildings and obstacles, but the constant care of our bodies, and our skin in particular is of paramount importance.
This is why PBF’s Peer Support program has been complimenting the already comprehensive skincare education that the patients receive during rehabilitation with a handheld mirror – that can be used by all paraplegics and many quadriplegics with a ‘C’ clip. The mirror also has a sticker on the back with PBF’s contact details. We encourage the use of these mirrors on a daily basis (usually at bed time) to check the hips, legs and bottom to look for pressure areas and possible cuts or abrasions.
Over the years of delivering Peer Support we’ve see many patients being re-admitted for pressure sore care and treatment that might have been prevented with the daily use of a mirror. This is one of the main reasons for providing the mirrors. Many pressure sores are a result of a knock, bang or scrape on a part of the body that is without feeling, so can quickly result in degeneration of the skin and flesh – right down to the bone if not cared for!
Our aim at PBF Australia is not only to help promote personal skin care but reduce the reoccurrence of hospital care and the costs associated with it.
So to put it in plain language – DON’T BE DUMB – CHECK YOUR BUM!
Written by Richard Higgins – Peer Support WA Coordinator. If you would like to find out more about PBF Peer Support you can do so here.